mitochondrial ATP synthase

Mitochondrial ATP synthase

The Rubinstein laboratory, along with collaborators at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, and Medical Research Council Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, England, have just produced the highest-resolution structure available for the mitochondrial ATP synthase. Mitochondria are the ‘powerhouses’ of cells, and ATP synthase is the macromolecular machine that makes the cells supply of ATP, the currency of biochemical energy. Using new cryo-EM methods the team demonstrated inherent flexibility in this essential enzyme. By combining their cryo-EM map with bioinformatic methods they were able to build the first atomic model of one of the key components of the ATP synthase. This structure will help explain how ATP synthesis is achieved in mitochondria.